Onslaught on Gaza: ‘Take to the streets…intensify the boycott!’

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On the night of 7/8 July Israel launched its latest racist onslaught on the people of Palestine ‘Operation Protective Edge’, a campaign of military terror and collective punishment on the Gaza Strip, designed to bomb the Palestinian people into political submission. The death toll is rising rapidly with over 160 dead and over 1,000 injured within the first five days of bombardment with an estimated 25% of the casualties being children. Israel claims their campaign of terror is necessary to stop Hamas 'rocket attacks' and is backed up in this grotesque parody of the truth by Britain, the US and their pro-imperialist media corporations. The destruction of Gaza and the brutal human cost being paid by Palestinians has nothing to do with ‘rocket attacks’ and everything to do with crushing the growing spirit of anti-occupation resistance in Palestinian towns, cities and refugee camps. This military assault is a political campaign. The US plan to 'negotiate' new terms for the occupation is dead and buried. The attempt to pacify Palestinians to follow a Palestinian Authority which rejects resistance has failed. A new uprising is under way in Palestine.

Israeli bombing campaign
Zionist defence minister Moshe Ya'alon says the operation is aimed at hitting Hamas to ‘make it pay a heavy price.’ The true price is once again being paid by ordinary Palestinians. On 12 July Israel bombed a mosque, a hospital and Gaza’s Centre for Disability Services – killing three young disabled women and injuring more than 10 others. On 9 July eight members of one family, including five children, were killed in an airstrike on Khan Younis refugee camp. A day earlier the home of the al Kaware family was bombed, murdering eight, including six young children. On the same day, Palestinian deaths included nine watching the World Cup in a beach cafe and a journalist's driver in a car clearly marked ‘TV’.

A ground invasion may be imminent. Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz claimed that, ‘Despite the fact it will be hard, complicated and costly, we will have to take over Gaza temporarily, for a few weeks, to cut off the strengthening of this terror army.’ Israel's last ground invasion of Gaza was the Operation Cast Lead bombardment in 2008-09 that killed 1,400 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians. Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is not ‘talking to anybody about a cease-fire right now. It’s not even on the agenda.’ On the night of 13 July, Israel began to tell people in the north of the Gaza Strip to leave their homes by midday on the Sunday ‘for their own safety’.

Israel’s terrorism is backed up by its imperialist sponsors. On the day that Operation Protective Edge was launched, a spokesman for US President Obama declared, ‘No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians and we support Israel’s right to defend itself against these vicious attacks.’ On 9 July, a day that Israeli missile attacks killed seven children, including two one year-olds and two three-year-olds, British Prime Minister David Cameron phoned Netanyahu to pledge his government’s support for Israeli actions. According to a Downing Street official: ‘The Prime Minister strongly condemned the appalling attacks being carried out by Hamas against Israeli civilians...The PM reiterated the UK’s staunch support for Israel in the face of such attacks, and underlined Israel's right to defend itself from them.’

Since the onset of the crisis the British media has once again shown where it stands. Four days into a Gaza bombing campaign in which Israeli air strikes hit 1,160 targets, ITV and BBC news both felt compelled to begin their coverage with footage of air raid sirens in Tel Aviv with pictures of Israelis running for cover. No deaths were reported as a result of Hamas rocket attacks. A week earlier, following the deaths of the three kidnapped settlers in the West Bank, BBC Middle East correspondent Kevin Kelly displayed the inherent racism in the BBC's coverage, claiming that ‘there was a special kind of chilling factor, a cold-blooded calculation to that crime that slightly sets it aside from the other waves of violence that we report on across the Middle East.’

The horrific death of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was impossible for the media to ignore. On 2 July Mohammed was dragged into a car near his home at Shu'faat refugee camp by a group of fascist settlers. During the kidnapping he was tortured, knocked unconscious, burned alive, and his body dumped in a forest near Deir Yassin, southwest of Jerusalem. The Palestinian forensic institute reports that 90% of Mohammed's body was covered in burns. His death followed an upsurge in racist and fascist messages by right-wing Israelis on social media. Four soldiers were jailed for 10 days after posting pictures of themselves inciting violence. Anti-Palestinian riots took place in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with Zionist mobs roaming the streets chanting ‘death to Arabs’ and attacking Palestinians with clubs and stones. Two days after the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, Israeli racists invaded the village of Osarin, kidnapping 22 year-old Tareq Ziad Odeily. After forcing Tareq into their car the settlers sprayed his eyes with pepper-spray before driving him to an isolated area, where he was severely beaten and stabbed before being left for dead. At the time of writing, Tareq remains in Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, suffering from serious injuries.

The killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir was presented in the media as a ‘revenge attack’ for the killing of the three kidnapped Israeli settlers and as an isolated, yet extreme response by a hardline group of settlers. But these acts of racist violence are indicative of a growing trend in Zionist politics as Israel builds more illegal, heavily armed colonies on stolen West Bank land and more extreme voices are elected to the Israeli parliament. In January the UN reported that settler attacks on Palestinians have risen every year for the last eight years and had numbered 2,100 since 2006. The attacks include the burning of Palestinian crops, killing of animals, stoning of cars, graffiti and vandalism on mosques and in Palestinian communities and a range of violent acts, from assault to outright murder in a vicious 'price tag' campaign where settlers seek to drive Palestinians out of their homes.

Call for Solidarity Action
On 20 June before the onslaught on Gaza began the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) issued an ‘Urgent call for international solidarity’ as the attacks of the Israeli occupation forces intensified in the West Bank. On 8 July as the bombs began to rain down on Gaza, the PFLP reissued the call, pointing out that the Palestinian people across historic Palestine were rising up against occupation and that now was the time to take solidarity action.

‘We reiterate our call and urge action around the world. Palestine is under attack – and Palestine is resisting, on the path of Intifada. It is the time to act!’

They called for people to ‘take to the streets’, to ‘intensify the boycott’ and to occupy and shut down Israeli embassies and consulates. The Revolutionary Communist Group fully supports this call, and urges all its readers to participate in any local solidarity actions

Solidarity with the Palestinian Resistance!

Boycott Israel!